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Best bet for a reliable life... RRS / D3 / D4 / FFRR?

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A friends D3 Commercial has I think only had a turbo replacement on top of normal servicing and it works hard for a living. Spends most of its life with a trailer on the back too. I think with any brand there are going to be those that have issue after issue and others that have had no problems.

 

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They are not as bad as people would have you believe and most of the common problems can be easily DIY fixed by someone competent (i.e. the vast majority on here)

My old man had a 2002 FFRR TD6 for 9 years (from 3 years old). Yes the gearbox went which is the most known fault on these which cost him £1,500 parts and labour. Other than that in those 9 years other than servicing/tyres the only thing I changed on it was a water pump and the front drop links. Water pump was £80.

 

I had a 2002 FFRR V8 petrol with 100k miles on it for 5 years until last year. I changed the front control arms (bushes and ball joints), drop links and air suspension compressor. The compressor was £300 but is a 20 mins easy fix. I did have some battery drain problems with this car at one point but I traced this to the light control module using nothing more fancy than a multimeter. Changed for a second hand one for £45. Only other fault was the well documented coolant pipe behind the engine that splits over time. £13 part, 30 minute fix.

 

I have had a 2010 3.6 TDV8 for the last 18 months. The known weak point at about 70k miles on these cars is EGR valves and the alternator. I bought knowing full well that neither had been done so budgeted accordingly. True to form at 75k miles both failed. The alternator is a £200 part but a big 6 hours DIY job (lots to dismantle). The EGRs were £400 for OEM for the pair and took 3 hours to change and were a doddle.

 

The big costs that seem to scare people off come from the high labour charges from the main stealers. Most of the jobs can be successfully completed by the experienced DIY'er. Granted Disco/RRS' are a pain if the job is not possible without taking the body off but in reality most things can be done with a bit of patience without taking it off.

 

There is a lot of valuable information on the fullfatrr site and disco3/4 and RRs sites on how to get round the various problems and excellent detailed write ups.

 

A big proportion of people on here would think nothing of doing a 300tdi Cambelt, none of the mechanical jobs mentioned above are more technically difficult than that. it just all depends on what you are experienced with I guess

 

Sam

 

 

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sorry went off on a bit of an essay......

 

re the OP, if It was my money I would be looking for a well cared for facelift (post 06) TDV8 and budget as I did for EGR valves and alternator if not done around 70k miles. My experience with wearing parts such as drop links/ball joints/bushes are that a lot seem to wear out around the 100k ish mark. Not expensive to do if you DIY

 

The TDV8 is a brilliant engine in the FFRR

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What about the mileages on these engines Sam? A lot of what puts me off is that my budget will only obtain high mileage examples. Now, whilst i accept that good maintenance on a high mileage car is probably better than none on a low mileage car, i have to wonder how far they will go without big problems. Any thoughts from those who have had them? Theres a couple on ffrr for sale at the moment, but they are all around 100k miles on the clock. Are they trouble waiting to happen at this mileage as things inevitable wear out or are they good for interstellar mileages if maintained well?

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It's the potential that really bothers me, where suddenly something stops working and there's a bigger bill and more trouble than anyone would expect. Cars are supposed to do a job, not financially cripple you. (Theoretically, I realise.) We have a 2003 Ford Falcon with fairly low mileage and it's just decided that it doesn't want to lock any more with the fob. And the key in the door locks it, but won't unlock it. I can't figure it out, and taking it to a workshop will cost a lot, not be worth it for such an old car, and they may not fix it anyway. Because it's an electronic problem, it could be anything, could happen at any time, and could be really complicated to fix. So from the OP's point of view, if they're that nervous about any car with a history of these surprises, and don't have a wad of cash handy for someone else to repair it, then go for whatever has a good reputation. 

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I think any car can give problems though. I bought a 3 year old picasso (aka a car made and sold cheap) for my wife paid £5,400 for it, the garage put a years warranty on it, I didn't extend it even though it was only £300 as I find anything you have to make a claim on is usually more hassle than its worth. 2 weeks later the egr failed along with 3 sensors on the exhaust system. Cost me £1000. It's now 10 years old and hasn't really caused me any problems since until I had it mot'd last year, it had to have rear calipers, brake lines, cables, disks and pads all around, a dealer only pipe on the aircon, spend over  £1000 on it by the time I'd serviced it as well. However that car is worth scrap money, at least a 10 year old discovery etc will still have a decent resale value so it's worth putting a bit of money in.

 

The alternative is just go for a pcp and just look at it as a fixed few hundred a month for as long as you want to drive.

Edited by Cynic-al

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There seem to be a few very high mile TDV8's about (circa 200k) but I admit I personally don't have experience of those. I bought mine with 70k on. The problem its seems for the few unlucky ones that have had mechanical engine problems with them is that it is very difficult to come by major internal parts

 

In relation to the BMW V8's - I have an M62 535i (same base engine as the 4.4 M62 but the 3.5 litre version) and that has done 285k! It has been stood up through no fault of its own for 18 months as we moved to newer cars but I would have no hesitation in MOT'ing it tomorrow and driving from Suffolk to Scotland!

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Most of us here are practical, have knowledge, common sense and can fix stuff, after all it's what lies at the heart of this forum. But personally I'm past the stage of wanting to do major repairs on an every day vehicle that I rely on to be available 24/7. Granted all vehicles have the potential to break down but nowadays I prefer to buy new / ex demo and chop them in every three years or so simply because if it suddenly goes pop someone else can have the hassle  of fixing it under manufacturers warranty while I get on with my day to day life in a courtesy vehicle.

Of course I fully understand and appreciate this is not everyone's cup of tea, or possible for all.

I really enjoy fixing broken stuff, working and generally tinkering just as much as I ever did but love it so much more when I have the spare time and desire to do so and not when it's on something I need to urgently source unobtainium parts for in order to get whatever it is fixed and back on the road as it was needed yesterday.

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Unexpected problems can derail any purchase, I wouldn't own a modern four cylinder BMW as it is known by BMW to have issues (my two year old 1 series died at 75k miles), only the service engineer told me about the known problem.

It is reckoned that setting off the air bags in an old D3 will write it off on cost to repair! Maybe true of other similar vehicles too.

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I've sold my 2005 d3 tdv6 a few years ago with 625000km's on the clock. We used it to tow our trailers throuh all of europe. We only once broke down during our trips with a broken alternator. I've replaced a few suspension arms, a brake caliper, blanked off the EGR's when they broke down, a few ball-joints. It has been one of our most reliable cars. 

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I wouldn't really touch any of them but then I spent 15 years as a dealer!

Ever had to explain to somebody why the engine needed to be stripped and the heads sent to a machine shop because at least 50% of the time the glow plugs on an older TDV6 will snap off when you try and change them at about 4-5 years? Days of labour for a job that should have taken a couple of hours. That sort of thing. Dumb designs that are made to be built efficiently not to be maintained, so you have to take the whole body off to do quite a few jobs. Great cars when they work, but that's usually the problem.

There are good ones and bad ones, especially with the older D3s, but the potential for eye-watering bills is just too great. The fundamental problem is that there is too much carp in them to go wrong. My Shogun (bought new last year) still has a lot of practical features that you would have found on a Discovery 2. Spare wheel on the back door (so the winch doesn't go sproingggg when you are trying to change a wheel in the dark and it is raining), a handbrake that oddly enough has never gone wheeeeedonkdonkdonkdonkgrrrrrr because it's a lever pulling on a bit of wire, springs that have never gone flat overnight because they are made of metal not of air, just to mention 3 things. It isn't perfect, never found a vehicle that is, but I have a lot more confidence in keeping it for a few years than I would with a LR, partly because it's got a 5 year warranty now.

Personally I always really wanted the last model of RR Sport, but I just couldn't bring myself to buy a vehicle based on the D3 chassis which gave us so many nightmares at work.

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On 01/11/2016 at 4:46 AM, garrycol said:

Lots of comments here - generally from those who have not owned any of those on the list.  I have has a 07MY RRS (basically the same as a D3) - has been the most reliable car I have owned - service it myself - there is not much to do and if you know where to buy parts quite cheap to run.

 

Listen to those who actually own the vehicles not those arm chair warriors who dont have one one and don't have a clue.

What about those of us who are mechanics or have close friends who are mechanics with never ending tales of woe?  It's not the first time you have been so insulting to those with a different opinion from your own, Garry.

 

Evidently, there are some cars which prove reliable, and others which are lemons.  LR have never been renowned for reliability, but these models have an exceptional reputation.  So, it seems that you have to buy with care - find one that is not only free of faults but also has always been so and you might be OK, but get one that has had repairs or replacements and you're probably getting a lemon.

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On 01/11/2016 at 10:48 PM, stobbie said:

I've sold my 2005 d3 tdv6 a few years ago with 625000km's on the clock. We used it to tow our trailers throuh all of europe. We only once broke down during our trips with a broken alternator. I've replaced a few suspension arms, a brake caliper, blanked off the EGR's when they broke down, a few ball-joints. It has been one of our most reliable cars. 

That list is not compatible with the term reliable, especially at that mileage.

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1 hour ago, Snagger said:

What about those of us who are mechanics or have close friends who are mechanics with never ending tales of woe?

That's always a bit silly, of course mechanics are going to see broken cars.

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It's amazing how forgiving people are when they haven't been slugged with a huge bill for a silly little problem. 

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4 hours ago, elbekko said:

That's always a bit silly, of course mechanics are going to see broken cars.

Not when they keep fixing the same individual vehicles.

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5 hours ago, Bowie69 said:

625,000km, Snags :)

Misread the number of zeros, so yes, that figure is pretty good indeed for reliability!

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Some very interesting feedback here - it seems that as with any car, there's good ones and bad ones, and possibly LR haven't got it sorted so there tends to be more baduns than some other marques, but there are good, reliable ones about...

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I spent ages looking for a replacement for my P38 (another car that everyone told me was a money pit before I bought one) and was looking at D3/D4, Sports and FFRR. in the end I went for the FFRR simply because for a similar year they tended to be lower mileages than the D3/D4 and much higher specced for the same money. The sport was never really an option for me, primarily because of the boot shape being awkward to fit dog crates into.

It's always difficult to filter through the horror stories versus the totally reliable version and, let's face it, the more you know about a marque, the more horror stories you've heard. As has already been pointed out, talk to any mechanic that works for a main dealer or spends all his/her time working on a single marque and they will give you a long list of potential problems. After all, how often do mechanics see reliable vehicles ??? My dad worked for IBM as a troubleshooter for their main frames and often joked that if he was in the market he'd not buy an IBM because he'd never seen one that wasn't broken...

Anyway, there are some potentially big bills involved with all of them and my first year of ownership (2007 FFRR TDV8) has not been without it's issues. 6 months in I had a "suspension fault" start coming up on the dashboard which turned out to be an air bag with a small air leak. This cost around £250 to put right with a new strut. I had a rear parking sensor fail which cost £100 to fix and have just had a couple of links in the front suspension replaced which cost me another £200.

All in all it's not been the cheapest car to run but then it's not been the most expensive either. I'll be keeping it for another year before changing it for a newer model and, if I'm honest, the cost of running it is far outweighed by the pleasure I get from driving it.

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Some (admittedly 2nd hand) stuff I've heard on D3 & D4's etc. is that many suffer from people putting off repairs and maintenance - for example bushes and joints all round would set you back a pretty penny if you are in the "just take it to the main dealer" game, but in reality it's not that terrible and parts are cheap enough from all the usual LR specialists. So there's plenty of D3's running round with clonky bushes, handling badly and wearing tyres out because no-one wants to spend £££ at the main dealer to get rid of a clonk.

One big plus for D3's etc. (IMHO) that that being LR there is at least a fair amount of "enthusiast" ownership, so common problems get solved and hard jobs get explained. For example, BogMonster has a horror story of stuck/snapped glow-plugs but I know now there's a mobile service that will gently vibrate them loose with very low risk of snapping for a reasonable price, so the sensible-minded owner might think that while the guy's in town (the D3 forum have maintenance "meet-ups" where stuff like this goes on) it's worth investing a few quid in a set of glow plugs and getting them swapped out before it becomes an issue. Same thing with the special gearbox-oil-flushing-machine.

I've looked into a few cars recently and, as others have said above, JLR stuff only looks complicated and expensive until you see some of the stuff that can go wrong on a modern BMW or Mercedes. The main difference seems to be that there's less enthusiast following so an internet search doesn't turn up threads of DIY repairs like this place - but that doesn't mean they don't go wrong!

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1 hour ago, FridgeFreezer said:

 

 The main difference seems to be that there's less enthusiast following so an internet search doesn't turn up threads of DIY repairs like this place - but that doesn't mean they don't go wrong!

I think this is a really excellent point

 

Just last week I was trying to find a how to on changing the clutch on a 55 plate BMW 120d, now I know that the DMF on these cars were causing problems from 20k miles up and will have continued causing problems long after the main stealer warranty ran out. I could not find a single write up (I wanted to have a quick read before I plunged into it as I knew it has a SAC clutch which I have never worked on before). Reading the BMW forums and it is clear the majority of forum users are not technically minded, most threads end up with the OP going to a garage and lots of vague advice from people who have not 'been there done it'.

On the other hand if have a Land Rover then there will be a site for you that deals with the absolute intricacies of working on the common problems surrounding that model

 

I always come here by default for all Series and Defenders up to TD5 (and because I like it best here :-) ) but if you want to know about the FFRR or D3/D4 those sites are a goldmine of information that can save you big bills.

 

As an example I fixed a mates D3 badly adjusted (by a garage) and screeching handbrake with a simple shoe and disc change, accompanied by a very detailed write up of how to properly set them up on D3. Has been perfect ever since and with the tips/workarounds provided I wouldn't have even needed my diagnostics to do it.

 

 

 

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A friend has a volvo, kept going off boost randomly. He found a few bad connections, repaired them but didnt fix it  Went to the dealer twice, they sprayed wd40 on the ecu plug, didn't fix it. Went to a back Street garage, didn't know what was wrong with it. Went to a volvo specialist who had it 6 weeks, changed an exhaust sensor that didn't fix it so he gave it back. Eventually a friend of his who has a thing for volvos agreed to take a look. Using an eBay copy of the volvo diagnostic software and a Chinese laptop link managed to work out it was a different exhaust sensor, replaced it for £40 and it now works. 

Why can't garages fix things any more? Is it because they Darent spent more than the absolute minimum time on anything for fear of presenting a big bill or what?

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I think it's because they've gone from being mechanics who figure things out to being technicians who just replace things. I remember this starting to happen in a big way in the '90s, and it looks like what we have these days is the result. 

Should I ever have any spare money, I was thinking about getting an old Rolls-Royce or Jaguar, because I realised that most of the expense in running these things would have to be in the labour, which shouldn't be a problem since I'm at the point where I could do most of it myself. So if the OP was up to the challenge of home diagnostics and such, then he should be able to manage his choice of modern JLR conveyance. It's when you can't do it yourself that you could wind up in big trouble. 

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